“Excuse me, ma’am. Are you a member?”
“Why, yes I am.”
This is an exchange that, until 2012 (that’s five years ago), would not have happened at Augusta National.
That’s right, women were voting for 92 years in the United States (also most likely the predominant age of Augusta’s membership) before they could get a membership at Augusta. Today, five years later, there are two female members. They declined comment on how liberating it is to be able to breathe the rarefied air of… Georgia.
But this isn’t about Augusta National. It’s not even about the zeal with which they hold fast to a time when people didn’t light candles during power outages because candles were the power. This is about a tournament of great prestige that is held annually on the hallowed grounds of Augusta National, and about how the windbags running said tournament have been pulling the wool over our eyes for the better part of a century. I am, of course, talking about The Masters.
The Masters. It rolls off of my tongue like the name of some eight-hundred dollar cologne. Like, The Masters… pour hommes.
Champions League Soccer (I looked it up, it isn’t a video game), Wimbledon (actually more than just the setting of a Kirsten Dunst movie), and the World Fencing Championships (I think there are swords) pale in comparison to the regal yellow flags of The Masters.
And yet, there’s the small matter of the prize…
The fabled green jacket seems, to me, to glide un-criticized under the radar when it should be front and centre in the discussion of criminal negligence in providing adequate hardware for the winner of a highly sought-after prize.
Let me strip that of the legalese. It’s garden variety hog shit – like the kind you’ll find all over the ground in Georgia, where you can bait and kill hogs at random and without limit. I digress.
Let these numbers marinate: The Masters has been happening at Augusta since 1934. That’s 83 years. In those 83 years, 17 golfers have won the tournament more than once. That means that in 67 of the 83 years we’ve been watching white guys ignore their black caddies for four days (note: this is actually what The Masters was like until about 1956), there has been a new winner of the tournament. This shit is harder to win than the favour of your father-in-law (don’t listen to him… mixed martial arts is a real job).
But let’s say you win it. You’ve overcome impossible odds and are among the world’s elite at striking a ball with a stick and being quietly clapped at in the purist form of oxymoron available in society. You’ve won The Masters. What’s next, you mighty winner, you.
Bubba Watson cried like it was his first time watching The Lion King when he won his first Masters. It didn’t matter what he chalked the waterworks up to, because I know with unequivocal certainty that he was crying at that heinous jacket he was given as a prize.
There was no silver trophy, named after a guy who played the sport before people were good at it. No medal. Just a jacket… from Brooks Brothers.
But wait – there’s more! The jacket… is green! Taken within the context of its very existence, it might as well be camouflage. And! And! Unless you’re the current winner, you can’t take the fuckin’ thing off the course! Holy Jesus! These guys keep a few hundred of the most shamefully vile garments on the planet under lock and key as if they are somehow above the Great Unwashed (that’s us) when many of us would use it to cover up the spot on the lawn where the dog dug through the sod.
Before I move on, I did say a few hundred, as in that’s how many jackets there are in-house, as in that’s how many members Augusta has, as in even members – exclusive as they may be – get these god damned jackets with their membership. Yeah, you read that correctly. They give these things away with a membership like some branded tees and ball markers and then hand them over as though they’re a precious gem to the winner of The fucking Masters. And yet, winners don’t even get a membership with their jacket.
Augusta has a few hundred members. They have green jackets. Augusta hosts The Masters. The members can’t play in The Masters. Winners of The Masters get a green jacket. Winners of The Masters don’t get membership at Augusta. Caddies at Augusta were once required to be black. Condoleezza Rice is a member at Augusta.
So I leave you with… nothing. I have nothing. These have been the words of a raving lunatic who, in the face of irretrievable madness, has tried to make sense of the world’s biggest hoax but who has failed and found himself far deeper in the clutches of complete insanity.
Let us depart with congratulations to Sergio Garcia, who, over the weekend, won his first major. It was, no doubt, the greatest accomplishment of his life, accompanied tragically by the worst piece of clothing he’s ever had to wear. Way to be, Serge, and may God have mercy on your soul.